ROCHESTER, N.Y. – York College senior Omar St. John poured in 36 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 33 minutes off the bench as York defeated the University of Rochester, 80-76, in the first round of the UR/Holiday Inn Airport Thanksgiving Invitational.
Ryan St. John added 19 points for the Cardinals (3-1) and Cyril Reed had 11 points. York is the pre-season favorite to win the City University of New York Athletic Conference title this year.
Sam Borst-Smith scored 19 points for Rochester (3-1). He added seven assists, three blocked shots, and two steals. Tyler Seidman scored 18 points. Jared Seltzer had 13 poitns and Zack Ayers scored 10.
York will play Eastern Connecticut State at 3 pm in Sunday's championship game. ECSU rallied to defeat Stevenson University, 66-62. Trachee Brown led the Warriors (6-1) with 26 points, including five three-point goals. Erik Fisher had 17 points and eight rebounds for Stevenson. Christian Roberts scored 16 points. Stevenson will play Rochester for third place at 1 pm.
The St. Johns combined for all nine points in a 9-0 run late in the first half that gave York its largest lead, 30-17, with 5:46 left. Ryan St. John hit back to back three-poitners and Omar St. John followed with a traditional three-point play a minute later.
Down by nine with just over a minute left in the first half, Rochester rallied within one with Borst-Smith doing the work. He drove for two layups, then hit a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to pull Rochester within 39-38 at the break.
Rochester used a 15-2 sprint midway through the second half to build a 62-53 lead with 8:45 left. Zack Ayers hit a pair of treys. Borst-Smith scored five points and Jared Seltzer had four.
The Yellowjacket lead was still five, 66-61, after two Seltzer free throws at 5:43. Omar St. John made a layup, Ryan St. John hit a trey, and Omar made another trey in a span of 71 seconds to push York back in front, 69-66, at 3:58.
It see-sawed from there. Kevin Sheehy's three-pointer from the left of the circle put Rochester up, 76-75, with 34 seconds left. Omar calmly banked in a three-pointer from the top of the key 12 seconds later, then made two clinching free throws with five seconds to play.